Parade Welcomes Tonga's Olympic Athletes

 

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 19, 2016) – A colourful parade of floats, joined by Tonga’s famous Olympic flag bearer, Pita Taufatofua, and fellow Olympian Lusi Tatafu, along with the Tonga Police Brass Band, businesses, and sporting associations, went through central Nuku’alofa to mark the 2016 Olympic Day on Saturday 17 September.

With a theme of ‘Walking for Health’ the procession of boxers, Taekwondo students, netballers, hockey players, body builders, and primary school students livened up the town. Even the former Prime Minister, Lord Sevele, joined in the parade with his family.

The event organized by TASANOC, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Tourism, ended at Pangai Lahi where the efforts of the Olympians who represented Tonga were acknowledge by various speakers.

Tonga made an eye-catching entrance at the Rio Olympics opening ceremony when flag bearer, Pita Taufatofua, dressed in traditional ensemble and gleaming with coconut oil walked out, causing a worldwide social media frenzy. Pita’s taekwondo match was the only sold out sporting event during the two weeks games.

Tongan archer Arne Jensen was the first Tongan athlete to win consent of the Olympic authorities to allow him to wear his tupenu while competing.

Siueni Filimone was the first Tongan sprinter ever to advance to the second round of heats in the 100m, before dropping out when he pulled a hamstring.

Saturday's event was attended by Mike Bloomfield, Chef de Mission Rio 2016, Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva, Lord Tupou, HRH Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala. It concluded with a word of thanks from Tonga’s 2016 Rio Olympians representative, Pita Taufatofua.

The guest of honour, HRH Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala, who was also celebrating his birthday on Saturday, and the Rio Olympians were presented with gifts and certificates by Lord Tupou, President of TASANOC.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
Copyright © 2016 Matangi Tonga. All Rights Reserved

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